With two Playdown game days already history, the fate of the Dragons Rhondorf continues to get more cloudy as remaining in the Pro B next season continues to get more difficult. The loss against the RheinStars Cologne last weekend was extremely bitter as they now had one less win with four games remaining. The next game against the Eimsbuetteler TV Hamburg was a must win for the Dragons Rhondorf as a loss would more have likely sealed their ticket back to the Regionalliga. The Dragons Rhondorf had split the season series with the Hamburg club that only won two games this season and had to find a better way to control Pro B top scorer Mubarak Salami who averages 28,0pg. The incredible scorer who is a one man wrecking crew in the zone had scored 75 points in the first two games and wanted to have another explosive game against the Dragons and did, but he didn’t get much scoring aid from his teammates and witnessed an offensive explosion by the Dragons Rhondorf that featured six players in double figures winning easily 116-74. The Dragons Rhondorf dominated from the tip off and played a well rounded and consistent game for 40 minutes and were rewarded and now are 2-1 in playdown play. ‘We were concentrated for 40 minutes tonight. We didn’t have those phases of not playing well like we showed in so many other games this season. We also cut down on the individual mistakes. We also got a lot of support from our young players and shot at a high percentage’, stressed Dragons Rhondorf captain Paul Albrecht. ETV Hamburg had nothing to play for except pride, but had a tough road as they were faced with mis matches all night long. ‘It was a very tough game, but I’m still proud of my teammates how they played. We were physically undermanned and had no centers today. We always had to help and they got a lot of open three’s. They also rebounded well and used their strengths to their advantage’, stated top pro B scorer Mubarak Salami.
The Dragons Rhondorf were without the Senegal sensation Ousmane Ndiaje for the second straight game, but they really didn’t need him. The Dragons Rhondorf didn’t waste anytime getting into attack mode sprinting out to a 9-2 lead. They attacked inside right away getting easy lay in’s from ex Sandersdorf guard Oshane Drews, a lay in by ex Artland Dragons Paul Albrect and a three pointer by Marek Kotieno. Mubarak Salami then scored his first field goal, but he wouldn’t see much daylight in the first half as he would only score twice from the field. The early plan of the Dragons was to really control Salami and let others produce. That worked well as the Dragons had no problems getting easy baskets inside which were also helped with offensive rebounds. A Paul Albrecht trey and Drews lay in with his left hand extended the Dragons lead to 20-9. ETV Hamburg couldn’t execute so well, but got a key trey by Marcel Hoppe and lay in from 19 year old German Ibrahim Jabby. But they couldn’t dig into the Dragons lead as Rhondorf continued to execute well as ex ANGT player Ralph Hounnou added a trey and Drews added three points on free throws giving the Dragons the comfortable 26-14 advantage after 10 minutes. ‘I felt we moved the ball very well and played good inside out basketball. We also had the edge on the rebounds’, stated Dragons Rhondorf manager Yassin Idbihi. The Dragons Rhondorf shot very well at 42% from the field and 57% from outside while ETV Hamburg shot under 40%. The Dragons had the solid 15-7 rebound edge.
In the second quarter the Dragons Rhondorf continued to execute at a high rate on offense and were able to lead by 20 plus points. They didn’t focus so much on Mubarak Salami anymore and were punished allowing 12 points on free throws to him as they suffered their fifth team foul half way through the second quarter. ETV Hamburg came out pretty strong getting some clutch baskets from young German Ibrahim Jabby as he showed his quickness with a lay in and showed his outside shooting qualities with a trey while ex NAIA player Javk Fritsche made a 20 footer and Rhondorf only led 30-21. But it didn’t take the Dragons Rhondorf long to find their groove again on offense as their lightening execution took off leading them on a lethal 14-1 run to extend their lead to 44-22. In the run, they took advantage of their physicality and inside attack by finding the open three’s and they let it rain three’s. The heart and soul of the Dragons Rhondorf Viktor Frankl-Maus dropped two three’s and Kotieno also connected from outside. The Brasilian beast Marcelo Ruediger also made a runner on transition. The Dragons Rhondorf then suffered their fifth team foul, but didn’t fret but continued to execute on offense. ETV Hamburg gave the ball to Mubarak Salami and he just drove and drove and drove and reached the free throw line 18 times and connected 12 times while also making a lay in. The Dragons Rhondorf also got their share of buckets as they continued to share the ball very well. The team continued to look for big man Ruediger who scored as well as Drews who continued to be unstoppable on the drive scoring twice, Frankel-Maus scored twice including once on transition and young German Eslie Edigin also scored with a reverse lay up to lead 57-40 at the break. ‘We continued to execute very well. We did a good job on defense on everyone except Salami’, stated Yassin Idbihi. Both teams shot 40% or higher from the field and the Dragons Rhondorf continued to dominate the boards 27-14 with the 9-2 offensive rebound advantage while both teams had 8 turnovers a piece.
The Dragons Rhondorf decided the game with a commanding 32-16 in the third quarter. The Dragons offense went up two more notches while the Hamburg defense got weaker and weaker as the physicality of Rhondorf was draining. The Dragons Rhondorf operated right away coming from the dressing room going on a 13-4 run to extend their lead to 70-44. Ex Rostock guard Nicolas Buchholz began the run with a lay in. Drews was in nonstop attack mode scoring inside, Paul Albrecht also scored on a lay in and then began the awakening of young German Esli Edigin (190-SG-2005) who added 12 points in the second quarter and made back to back lay in’s in the run using his extreme quickness and athleticism. He finished with 18 points and played his best game in a Dragon uniform. ‘He was supposed to play at the Addidas Next Generation, but didn’t. To come out and have a game like this is incredible. I’m really happy he played so well’, stated Paul Albrecht. Rhondorf did a super job not suffering let downs or a lack of concentration despite having such a big lead and just keeping focus and consistency. Rhondorf did a good job containing Salami as he scored only one bucket after the run. The Dragons continued to execute easily on offense as if it was a Sunday walk in the park. They continued to drop three’s with consistency as Kotieno and Frankel-Maus scored and Edigin continued to shoot with confidence nailing two three’s. Drews and Kotieno added two lay in’s and Rhondorf had the super commanding 89-56 lead after 30 minutes. ‘Salami scored more when we went to zone. He is a very good individual player. We concentrated more on Hoppe and Fritsche and gave them contested shots’, stressed Paul Albrecht. ‘We were physically tired already in the third quarter. We had to work so much harder. I was fasting and hadn’t drank anything today. We had two shooters up top so I had more room to work, but they played very smart’, said Mubarak Salami. The Dragons Rhondorf continued to shoot at a high clip at 57% from the field and 46% from the three point line while ETV Hamburg shot 37% from the field and 24% from outside. Rhondorf continued to control the boards 39-22 and both teams had 10 turnovers a piece.
The Dragons Rhondorf didn’t let down in the fourth quarter, but continued to add pressure on offense and seriously wore down the guests scoring 27 points. Salami continued to be a one man wrecking crew scoring the first three Hamburg baskets and made a free throw, but they couldn’t make any ground on Rhondorf. The Dragons received 5 points from Paul Albrecht and lay in’s from Drews and Ruediger to lead 98-63. After a Hoppe trey, Ruediger continued to execute getting two more baskets for the 102-66 advantage. With the game more than decided, Dragons Rhondorf head coach Julius Thomas gave more minutes to the young German kids Sam Nellessen and Lars Brodisch and they delivered with two baskets for the 111-72 lead. Edigin played 24 minutes, but probably could have played two more overtimes as his zeal never ended as he netted two more three’s ending the game. But the scene of the game came prior to the last Edigin three pointer as Kai Mueller stood at the free throw line. The young German who had come from the ratiopharm Ulm youth program stood with a big smile at the free throw line. Who would of thought that something so untypical would happen. He sunk the first free throw with the help of the back board and did the same trick again with the second shot. ‘The first free throw wasn’t intended. But the second one was intentional. I remember my teammate Alexander Witte do it in Oldenburg’, smiled Paul Albrecht. ‘We were down by so much in the fourth quarter and our biggest task was to motivate ourselves. I’m so proud of our young guys Jabby, Ceesay and Jardel Fritsche who played so much more than usual and did a good job against the physicality’, stated Mubarak Salami. ‘We had a different spirit tonight. Everybody stepped up and we kept fighting. That was the difference tonight’, added Paul Albrecht. The Dragons Rhondorf were led by Oshane Drews with 23 points. Paul Albrecht added 19 points and 14 rebounds while Esli Edigin had 18 points. Viktor Frankl-Maus and Marek Kotieno added 16 points apiece. ETV Hamburg were led by Mubarak Salami with 33 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists while Marcel Hoppe added 21 points. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 57% from the field and 47% from the parking lot and had 53 rebounds and 13 turnovers while ETV Hamburg shot 37% from the field and 20% from the parking lot and had 30 rebounds and 12 turnovers.
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